Scientists ID Catastrophic Climate Change 'Tipping Zones'

9 danger signs that disaster is inevitable
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2008 4:34 AM CST
A view of Torres del Paine National Park, declared a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO in 1978, and the Grey Glacier falling into the Grey lake, is seen in Chilean Patagonia, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2007....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Scientists have identified nine danger zones where global warming could be pushed past the point of no return within years, the Independent reports. The scenarios include the melting of ice in the Arctic and Antarctic, the collapse of the Indian and West African monsoons, and the death of forests in Canada, Siberia and the Amazon. Once climate "tipping points" are reached in any of the zones, the change would likely be irreversible—and could all occur within this century, the experts warned.

Passing any of the tipping points could suddenly trigger the complete collapse of existing climate systems, warn the dozens of climate scientists behind the report in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. They urge immediate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and the creation of an early-warning system. "Our synthesis of present knowledge suggests that a variety of tipping elements could reach their critical point within this century," the report concludes.